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Black History Month: In ‘Truth: Red, White and Black,’ Isaiah Bradley Is The First Black Captain America

In 'Truth: Red, White and Black' (2003) #5, Isaiah Bradley is Captain America.
 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH


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IN CIVIL RIGHTS

CAMP CATHCART ENLISTS 300 AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN PROJECT REBIRTH

In 'Truth: Red, White and Black' (2002) #3, Isaiah Bradley and his black-ops team succeed in the Super Soldier experiments.
In Truth: Red, White and Black (2002) #3, Isaiah Bradley and his black-ops team succeed in the Super Soldier experiments. Marvel Comics.

In our Black History Month feature story, we feature Isaiah Bradley, the first African American Captain America. Originally, Sgt. Luke Evans leads Isaiah’s all-black military unit.

During the Second World War, Colonel Walker Price and Dr. Josef Reinstein enlist 500 black military into Project Rebirth. Unbeknownst, the U.S. Army tests them with the Super Soldier Serum to develop additional Super Soldiers.

Previously, Steven Rogers successfully completed the Super Soldier program and became Captain America. Tragically, the majority of the candidates do not survive the experiments.

Only five African Americans, namely, Sgt. Luke Evans, Isaiah Bradley, Maurice Canfield, Damon Larsen and Larry Pitts survive to form a black special-ops team.

Secretly, the Army sends the families of the deceased military letters explaining their deaths as a result of explosions in combat.

In 1942, they deploy in multiple missions in Europe to fight Nazi Germany. On a mission, Larsen is killed and the squad discovers medical supplies for Koch Pharmazeutik. Then, in Sintra, Portugal, only Evans, Bradley and Canfield remain.

There, they await the arrival of Captain America. When Maurice finds out about his parents’ deaths, his enlarged thyroid, rage and PTSD lead to a fight. After the fight, only Bradley survives.

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THE FIRST BLACK CAPTAIN AMERICA

In 'Truth: Red, White and Black' (2003) #5, Isaiah Bradley is Captain America.
In Truth: Red, White and Black (2003) #5, Isaiah Bradley is Captain America. Marvel Comics.

Afterwards, Isaiah is sent on his last mission. In fact, it is a suicide mission to kill Doctor Kosh, stop the development of the German Super-Soldier formula and destroy the Nazi camp in Schwarzebitte.

On his way, Isaiah steals a Captain America uniform and shield. To the enemy, he becomes… the Black Captain America! Though Isaiah meets the mission objectives, the Nazis capture him. In the interrogation room, the Fuhrer meets him.

Then, they transport the Captain to Auschwitz. On the way, German freedom fighters save Captain America. After being smuggled in Europe, he is able to report back to the U.S. Army in America.

However, the Army sentence Bradley to life in prison for having stolen the Captain America uniform and shield.

From 1943, during seventeen years, he serves time in solitary confinement where his mind and body deteriorate due to improper medical care.

Later, his wife Faith is able to obtain his pardon after writing President Eisenhower a letter a month for three years. In 1960, he is released on President Kennedy’s Inauguration ceremony.

 

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THE SUPER-SOLDIER SERUM WAS A U.S.-GERMAN ARMS RACE

In 'Truth: Red, White and Black' (2002) #7, the two Captain Americas meet in the Bronx.
In Truth: Red, White and Black (2002) #7, the two Captain Americas meet in the Bronx. Marvel Comics.

In the present, Captain America investigates Bradley’s apparent death after his last mission per the U.S. Army. When he meets with Colonel Walker Price, he finds out the truth about the Super-Soldier Serum.

Originally, it was born out of eugenics, an attempt to improve the human gene pool with “racial hygiene” and enhanced physical traits.1

After the Great War, the U.S., Great Britain and Germany took the lead in the eugenics movement. When Hitler took power in Germany, he recruited Dr. Reinstein and Dr. Koch on Project Rebirth.

To this end, its aim was to create the Super-Soldier. Early, it was a joint U.S.-German business venture. After Hitler’s Nazism arose and he declared the Second World War, Project Rebirth split into two. After, the Super-Soldier race was on.


REFERENCES

Truth: Red, White & Black Vol 1 3 in Marvel Database.
Truth: Red, White & Black Vol 1 5 in Marvel Database.
Truth: Red, White & Black Vol 1 7 in Marvel Database.

FOOTNOTES

  1. Truth, Red, White And Black #7.

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